27654 Santa Margarita Pkwy, Mission Viejo, CA 92691

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Here at New Generation Dentistry, we practice both pediatric and general dentistry. This means that we are able to treat your whole family all in one place! While all of our dentistry happens in the same office, pediatric dentistry is performed very differently from dentistry with adult patients, and different training is required. We are qualified to perform both! Read on to learn more about what it takes to be a pediatric dentist.

What is a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who is trained and qualified to treat patients who are under the age of 18. Pediatric dentists are specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including patients with special needs.

What kind of training do pediatric dentists have?

Pediatric dentists must go through all of the education that general dentists do, with additional specialization training. Pediatric dentists must first obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. Undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in dentistry typically choose a relevant major, like biology. After completing their undergraduate degree, pediatric dentists must attend dental school, which typically takes an additional four years. Once they have completed their dental program and passed their exams, they are considered qualified to practice general dentistry and typically begin their careers with fellowships or residencies.

To become a pediatric dentist, students must complete an additional pediatric specialty training program, which typically takes another two years of schooling. During this time, dentists get the chance to learn more about issues and concerns that are specific to pediatric patients. This includes a focus on growth and development, as their patients will be younger and growing and changing throughout their treatment process, along with education about treating primary teeth and detecting early onset issues. Pediatric dentists are also trained to interact with children and adolescents in ways that help their patients feel less anxious about the new place they find themselves in and all of the equipment used to clean and check their teeth.

What procedures and practices are pediatric dentists able and unable to perform?

Counseling and Referrals

Pediatric dentists are a very important part of the team of medical professionals it takes to keep a child happy and healthy! While dentistry contributes to your child’s overall health and healthcare, it is important to understand what your child’s pediatric dentist can and can’t help them with.

For example, pediatric dentists are able to offer nutritional counseling services as a part of their dental checkups and treatment plans. They are able to help your family understand which nutrients your child needs to be eating in order to maintain strong, healthy teeth and bones. However, you will also want to ask your child’s pediatrician about your child’s overall health, and talk to them about any allergies or other nutritional concerns your child may have. Pediatric dentists are also often the first to notice that your child may benefit from orthodontic treatment. Your child’s pediatric dentist will be able to recommend orthodontists in your area and continue to perform dental cleanings and check ups while your child has braces, but your child’s orthodontist is the one who will be able to correct their smile alignment.

Surgery

Similar to orthodontics, your child’s pediatrician will be able to monitor their growth and suggest they see a maxillofacial surgeon if it would benefit them or potentially address a skeletal issue they are having. While pediatric dentists cannot perform orognathic surgery, they can help you and your family prepare for surgery and continue to treat your child after the surgery to help ensure that they are able to heal properly.

Treating adults

While pediatric dentists are technically trained to practice general dentistry, they typically only serve pediatric patients. Some exceptions exist, such as family and hybrid practices (like ours!). Most pediatric dental offices are only equipped with the tools needed to treat younger patients.

What are the benefits of choosing a dental practice that offers pediatric and general dentistry?

Continuity

Because New Generation Dentistry practices both pediatric and general dentistry, we are able to see our patients throughout their lifespan! From your first pediatric dental appointment before you are one year old until well into your adult life, New Generation Dentistry will be your home for dental care!

Convenience

When it comes to maintaining your family’s healthcare, the scheduling can get pretty overwhelming! Since we are able to treat patients of all ages, you and your children can go to the same office for your dental appointments! This will save you a lot of driving around, and help them become more comfortable at the dentist.

Your child’s first visit to the pediatric dentist may set the tone of their relationship with the dentist and their oral health for the rest of their life! That’s why it’s important to prepare for your first visit to the dentist and make sure your child has a positive experience. The pediatric dentist’s office should be a dental home for your family, where they can feel safe and comfortable with people they trust. If you have any more questions about our pediatric dental services, call our office today!